A series of 3-acyl derivatives of the dihydronaphtho[2,3-b]thiophen-4,9-dione system were studied with respect to cytotoxicity and topoisomerase II inhibitory activity. These analogues were designed as electron-deficient anthraquinone analogues with potential intercalation ability. Derivatives 3-(diethylamino)-N-(4,9-dioxo-4,9-dihydronaphtho[2,3-b]thiophen-3-yl)propanamide (11m) and 3-(2-(dimethylamino)ethylamino)-N-(4,9-dioxo-4,9-dihydronaphtho[2,3-b]thiophen-3-yl)propanamide (11p) showed a high efficacy in cell lines that were highly resistant to treatment with doxorubicin, such as MDA-MB435 (melanoma), IGROV (ovarian), and SF-295 (glioblastoma) human cell lines. Both compounds inhibit topoisomerase II mediated relaxation of DNA, while only 11p incites arrest at the S phase in Caco-2 cells, inducing a delay of cell cycle progression and an increase of cell differentiation. The ability of these derivatives to modulate small heat shock proteins and cardiotoxicy effects was also explored. In addition, the DNA-binding properties of these compounds were investigated and discussed.
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